College Friends -- Friends for Life!
So, if you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you know this past weekend I met up with my college friends. Now, January is always our "Christmas" celebration. We have rules! No kids or husbands/significant others/fiances allowed on this occasion. This is our time. Our time to reconnect, bond, catch up and refuel without any filters. We all need nights like that, am I right? And trust me, there are no filters on this night! This year was especially significant: we celebrated 20 years of official "christmases". Official you ask? Well, yes, throughout college we had nights before going back home for that long winter break where we would celebrate together, but things changed our senior year.
She is kind, loving, nurturing and full of life. Lauren will drop anything in a heartbeat to help you out! We credit her mom for our amazing traditions we created over the years. In December of 1996, Lauren's mom was struggling with cancer. It was finals week 1996 and she called Lauren and told her to arrange for all of us to be at the townhouse at 7pm. We were like little kids on Christmas. We had all kinds of outrageous ideas going through our heads about why we needed to be there. Well the time came, and to our surprise, she catered a warm dinner for all of us to have together. We were a family and this tied us together forever. With that dinner, a letter was sent for Lauren to read. (I will admit, I am crying now.....) This letter was powerful!
The Letter: Lauren's mom observed the friendship of 8 women evolve over 4 years and wrote about it.. She talked about what an amazing gift we have been given. This gift of friendship, she hoped, would be cherished and nurtured. She discussed how grateful she was for all of us to be in her daughter's life. It was such an emotional letter that really made each of us stop and truly appreciate each other. We sat that night talking about memories, our plans for the future, but most importantly we made promises to each other. We promised to work hard at our friendship. We promised to get together as often as life allowed. We promised to take trips together. Most importantly, we promised to always have a Christmas dinner together. This was to honor our friendship as well as Lauren's mom. And you know what? We have kept our promises!
These ladies have no idea how much they truly mean to me. They are my core. We have had so many good, bad and memorable moments together that nothing can separate us now. We have experienced, love, marriage, kids, divorce, change of location, careers and career changes, loss of loved ones, sickness, joy, happiness, and most importantly a bond like no other. As the years have passed, anytime I talk to one of my roommates via phone, email or text my day becomes just a little bit sweeter. These ladies have been my rock!
During the years, especially when I was still teaching, my roommates would ask me questions about decorating. It was something that came naturally for me to see and do. They would ask little questions about color or placement or ideas. My roommate Linda even offered to house me so I could help her decorate her home. I wish I did it, but I didn't feel confident in myself at that time. Do I regret it? No, because at that time I wasn't open to accepting what I could do. Today, I am! But I need to thank Linda. She doesn't know it, but that offer was always in the back of my head. It was the offer that helped build my confidence to take classes and begin pursuing my career change! Twelve years ago, my husband and I did a huge renovation in our home. It is when I really became confident with what I could do with my ideas. We created an incredible kitchen! It had an 11 foot long island in the middle. Our goal for this space was to fit our entire family, big fat Greek family, into this space to enjoy our time together for all of the joy and love life has to offer. The kitchen was featured in Hudson Valley Connoisseur in 2008. Six years later, we decided to move. This desicion didnt happend easily for me. My roommates were shocked. "How can you leave that kitchen?" But, my husband said to me...."You can do it again!" He also had the confidence in my talents.
Over the years, my roommates showed confidence in my talents. More recently, my roommate Alison, pointed out that she still has a decorative piece I bought for her when she moved into an apartment near me years ago. She has since moved away and has a house. We all know how while packing up and moving, we are purging at the same time. We decide to give things away, have yard sales, or moved on from that pieces, whatever the case, we know that process. It warmed my heart to see she has held onto it. I know it will not last forever, but for now, I feel overwhelmed that she still has that piece. I remember the thought I put into it. Thinking about her colors and pieces she already had in your place. My roommate Lauren was the first to actually hire me for e-design in her home. She was making a career change and has since began working from home. I helped to create a better flow in your basement office. I felt so honored that she asked for my expertise. Tricia, an English major in college, was the first to join my email list for newsletters. When she told me, I clapped. I truly was excited. She even told me my blog was great. I actually had to fight back the tears of joy that she said that because I fear my writing is weak. Kate and Kristin have also been cheering me along by liking things on social media along the way. To them these acts are small, but to me, they are the world because they trust in my work to show support publicly. These ladies have been my fans, support, cheerleaders from the beginning before I was Jennifer Lynn Interiors.
Taking a break from business and celebrating our friendship each year is glorious. Our night together celebrating each year is always epic! We have a good ole' classic sleepover! We stay up late. I will admit, I barely made it to 2am this year. (shh...no comments from the peanut gallery) Lauren rallied the troops though. We drink, eat, exchange gifts, we play games, sing and dance. Below is a snippet of our night.
Now, you are sitting there wondering why I am writing about my friends from college and I am not writing about my interior decorating business. Well, I if you remember, I made a promise. Or if you don't know, check it out here. I promised to be real! This is me being real. Without these ladies, I would not be who I am today: personally, professionally and mentally! The life adventures I have had with my college roommates have created a connection with us that can never be broken. These ladies are the best friends anyone can ask for in a life. Near or far, days or months, I will always be there for them and I know in the deepest of my heart, they will always be there for me. College friends are friends for life. I share this with you because this is me! I'm not perfect, I am just me!